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The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders

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The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
Narrator: Anna Bentinck
Series: Laetitia Rodd Mysteries #1
Published by Dreamscape Media on October 25, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Historical Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 35 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged fifty-two, is the widow of an archdeacon. Living in Hampstead with her confidante and landlady, Mrs. Benson, who once let rooms to John Keats, Laetitia makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator.

Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in the neighboring village of Highgate with his wife and ten children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence, her iron discretion, and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When Frederick brings to her attention a case involving the son of the well-respected, highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire to take up a position as the family’s new governess—quickly making herself indispensable.

But the seemingly simple case—looking into young Charles Calderstone’s “inappropriate” love interest—soon takes a rather unpleasant turn. And as the family’s secrets begin to unfold, Laetitia discovers the Calderstones have more to hide than most.

The Secrets of Wishtide is fine. I really just don’t have much to say about it. Letty is a competent investigator, but I wanted her to have more of a personality I guess. She’s a little bland, which does allow her to fit in unobtrusively, but I wished she had more of a spark to her. Ido have some hope for her and Inspector Blackbeard though.

I liked the Victorian Britain setting, both London and the countryside. We see the seedy side of the city and the drawing rooms of the rich. We see inside of Newgate and the country manor. I do think it did a good job of portraying how women were treated and the (lack of) options in that era.

As far as the mystery goes, what started as a short trip to look into an unacceptable love interest turns more complicate and dead bodies start to pile up. The story got a little complicated and I’m never much of a fan of the “oh look, he wasn’t really dead after all” plot line. And it’s funny that just about all of Letty’s hunches pay off. It was well-plotted though, with enough clues and witnesses. There’s no grand revelation, but there is a good scene where the bad guy is cornered.

I guess The Secrets of Wishtide draws a lot of it’s inspiration from Dickens’ David Copperfield, but since I’ve never read it I totally missed that part.

Will I read the next in the series? Maybe, if my library gets it on audio and I don’t have anything else lined up.

About Kate Saunders

Kate Saunders is an author and journalist. She has worked for The Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan amongst others, and has contributed to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Start the Week. She has written numerous books for adults and children, including the bestselling Night Shall Overtake Us, and her follow on to E Nesbit’s Five Children and It stories, Five Children on the Western Front, which won the Costa Children’s Book Award in 2014. She lives in London.

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Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton

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Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton
Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #2
Published by Minotaur Books on April 4, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
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Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it’s become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie,” in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.

While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot’s owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he’s wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder.

I liked Of Books and Bagpipes much more than the first in the series. Delaney has been in Scotland for a while now and has come to care about the people she works with and her friends. I felt like her reason for investigating felt more natural this time around, a combination of natural curiosity and wanting to help.

As a mystery, it worked well. There were plenty of clues and suspects and secrets that went back decades. It takes a lot of unraveling and I was surpised by the whodunnit, although I felt the motive was bit weak. And of course, Delaney gets herself trapped, but I didn’t feel like it was because of stupidity on her part, which was nice. Sometimes female amateur detectives annoy me by taking risks that no sane woman would. Delaney didn’t do that here. She has someone with her when there’s a potential for danger, and always lets someone know where she is going. I like a woman with some common sense.

The characters are an interesting mix. Each has his/her own quirks but they fit well together. Delaney’s bookish voices weren’t too obtrusive. They add an interesting touch to the story. She hears voices from books she’s read that are kind of like her subconscious guiding her. It’s a bit odd, but it works, at least for me. The dialogue is well done. A couple of folks speak in a Scottish dialect, but it was easy to follow and words that were unfamiliar were explained, since they are unfamiliar to Delaney too.

I do admit that a large part of the appeal of this series for me is the setting. What could be a more perfect setting for a cozy mystery than a bookstore in Scotland? It makes me want to visit the castles, and library, and pub. And of course, hang out at the bookstore.

About Paige Shelton

Paige studied journalism at Drake College in Iowa. She has only ever wanted to be a writer. She’s had good jobs, bad jobs, great bosses, and terrible bosses, but through it all she has only wanted to write. She’s grateful to have the opportunity now.
Paige and her husband currently live in Arizona and have a college-age son.

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A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr

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A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Series: Thorny Rose Mysteries #2
Published by Acorn Book Services on February 6, 2017
Source: iRead Book Tours
Genres: Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 17 mins
Format: Audiobook
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After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

A Fine Year for Murder is the second in the Thorny Rose Mysteries. From the first, we know that Jessica has nightmares, and this time around we learn why. Once again, the coincidence that bring everyone into the investigation seems a little forced. Jessica and Murphy attend a family dinner where investigative journalist Dallas Walker is describing a cold case she is investigating that is known as the Pine Bridge Massacre – a brutal killing of a family. Jessica realizes that she witnessed the death of the young girl but has been suppressing the details causing her violent nightmares. What are the chances, really, first that Jessica was a witness to the massacre, and that a family member’s girlfriend happens to be investigating it? But let’s just ignore that and get on with the rest of the book.

I thought the mystery was well done. I liked how Carr blended the “real” clues with Jessica’s memory. The family at the winery, Jessica’s adoptive family as she’s quick to point out, is beyond dysfunctional. Actually, there are a few very nice people, but the other side is just nuts – dangerous, sneaky, immoral. Beyond the original crime that Jessica remembers, we’ve got kidnapping, embezzlement, and more murders. It’s a pretty convoluted mystery, in a good way.The twists keep coming.

I listened to the audio and the narrator did a good job with all the characters. His tone keeps the tension going. He also manages to make a computer amusing.

I did make a note as I was listening. “Fade to black sex scenes that felt out-of-place.” There were too many “my life was just in danger, but I survived, now take me” moments for my taste. And yes I know Dallas, Jessica, and Murphy are gorgeous, I don’t need told again. Actually I think that’s my problem with the book in general. We are told things we don’t need to be told, little details that would be understood, and other pieces of info are repeated over and over. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed in print, as I tend to scan occasionally, but on audio it was very noticeable.

Overall, it’s a good book, just not one I loved.

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About Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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